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Aløft

There's nothing new about Nordic interiors - blond timbers, concrete surfaces, warm, mid-century charm without the twee - and thank heavens for that. It's a style that augments the beauty of everything around it, in this case, gorgeous Hobart harbour, which makes up one whole wall. What is new here, however, is the food - by veterans of Garagistes, which once dazzled diners down the road, Vue de Monde in Melbourne and Gordon Ramsay worldwide. There's a strong Asian bent, but with Tasmanian ingredients. In fact, the kitchen's love of the local verges on obsessive - coconut milk in an aromatic fish curry is replaced with Tasmanian-grown fig leaf simmered in cream to mimic the flavour. Other standouts include a gutsy red-braised lamb with gai lan and chewy cassia spaetzle, pigs' ears zingy with Sichuan pepper and a fresh, springy berry dessert. While the food is sourced locally, the generous wine list spans the planet. 

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Like its oft-disputed name, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia defies simple definition but its rich diversity extends from the dinner table to the welcoming locals, writes Richard Cooke.

Grilled apricot salad with jamon and Manchego

Here we've scorched apricots on the grill and served them with torn jamon, shaved Manchego and peppery rocket leaves. Think of it as a twist on the good old melon-prosciutto routine. The mixture would also be great served on charred sourdough.

Brae

Prepare to enter a picture of the countryside framed by note-perfect Australiana but painted in bold, elegant and unsentimental strokes. Over 10 or more courses, Dan Hunter celebrates his region with dishes that are formally daring (Crunchy prawn heads! Creamy oyster soft-serve! Sea urchin and chicory bread pudding!), yet rich in flavour and substance. The menu could benefit from an edit, but the plates are tightly composed - and what could you cut? Certainly not the limpid broth bathing fronds of abalone and calamari, nor the clever arrangement of lobster played off against charred waxy fingerlings under a swatch of milk skin. The adventure is significantly the richer for the cool gloss of the dining room, some of the most engaging service in the nation and wine pairings that roam with an easy-going confidence. Maturing and relaxing without surrendering a drop of its ambition, Brae is more compelling than ever.

Fragrant broth with fresh rice noodle rolls


You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.

You'll need

3 kg fresh rice noodle rolls (see note) To serve: coriander, bean sprouts and thinly sliced spring onions, red chilli and shallots   Fragrant broth 3 kg beef ribs 250 ml (1 cup) light soy sauce, plus extra to serve 130 gm piece of ginger, thickly sliced, plus 30gm extra, cut into julienne 85 gm galangal, thinly sliced 85 gm tamarind 50 gm light palm sugar, shaved 6 garlic cloves, bruised 4 small dried red chillies, split 2 lemongrass stalks, thickly sliced ½ tsp coarsely ground white pepper

Method

  • 01
  • For fragrant broth, preheat oven to 200C. Place ribs in a roasting pan and roast, draining rendered fat occasionally, until ribs are deep golden (2 hours). Drain fat, transfer ribs to a stockpot over high heat, add remaining ingredients (except julienne ginger) and 4½ litres water, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until well-flavoured (2-3 hours). Refrigerate for flavours to develop (overnight). Skim fat from broth, strain through a fine sieve into a large saucepan, bring to the boil over medium-high heat, add julienne ginger and keep warm.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, steam rice noodle rolls in a bamboo steamer lined with baking paper over simmering water in batches until warmed through (2-4 minutes). Divide noodle rolls among bowls, spoon broth over, top with coriander, bean sprouts, spring onions, chilli and shallots and serve.

Note Fresh rice noodle rolls are available from Asian grocers; they can be bought up to two days before you use them, but don't refrigerate them as this will ruin their texture.


At A Glance

  • Serves 16 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 16 people

Drink Suggestion

Nutty amontillado Sherry.

Featured in

Nov 2011

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